Gen. George S. Patton Jr. was a skilled military leader whose aggression and ability to read a battlefield led to many successes in World War II. He helped define American armored warfare doctrine. How much do you know about his battlefield tactics?
What did Patton think was the defining characteristic of desert tank warfare?
a total lack of cover
difficulty of maintaining supply lines
identifying battle lines without accurate maps
In the absence of cover, what was a ground force's best form of protection?
building man-made cover
How were tanks and trucks supposed to arrange themselves to avoid strafing and bombing attacks from aircraft?
in a double file column
in tight clusters so the lead unit provided cover
What was the minimum distance between tanks and trucks underway advocated by Patton?
75 yards (69 meters)
True or false: Patton's preference for traveling tanks was a disciplined single file column.
What was Patton's advice for pneumatic tires driving over sand?
They could be deflated to as low as 70 percent air pressure for better traction.
They should be wrapped in chains for traction.
They should be avoided completely in favor of tracked vehicles.
What did Patton believe was the key to coordinating reconnaissance with artillery and dispersed units?
What was the basis of Patton's doctrine with the U.S. Third Army late in the war when it regarded attacking Nazis in Europe?
regroup and consolidate
True or false: Patton's aggression was successful but came at the cost of terrible American casualties.
Aside from recon and vehicle dispersal, what else did Patton believe was crucial in desert tank warfare?
accurate weather reports
In his rush to capture Messina, Italy, during the invasion of Sicily, Patton ordered several amphibious landings. Why?
to establish a beachhead where he could then land more troops and supplies
to try to get troops behind Axis lines, disrupting their withdrawal and pressuring their front lines
to give his troops practice for the eventual Normandy, France, invasion
What tactical maneuver did Patton execute while commanding the First United States Army Group in the D-Day invasion?
He set up artillery units on anchored barges to provide close artillery support.
None — the First United States Army Group was a fake, "phantom" army created entirely to deceive the Nazis as to the location of the actual invasion.
He coordinated aerial spotters with a widely dispersed tank division to pinpoint Nazi defensive positions.
During the drive to recapture France, Patton's armored units adopted a practice in which gunfire, particularly using .50-caliber M2 Browning machine guns, would be trained on any location along the path of advance that might offer cover to waiting German troops, flushing them out. What is the term for this practice?
reconnaissance by fire
What characteristic of U.S. Sherman tanks allowed armored units to advance through France with speed?
specialized suspension components
What was the name of the truck convoy system that effectively supplied Patton's Third Army (and other Allied armies) in their advance through France?
the Red Ball Express
the Lorraine Pipeline
the A Train
Patton was able to quickly redirect his forces from their rapid advance to fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. How many divisions was he able to reposition in just three days?
When the Third Army ran short of fuel and supplies, partly because the fuel was being sent to other units, how did it acquire extra supplies?
They pretended to be from the other units and effectively "stole" the fuel.
They used captured German equipment and supplies.
They radioed for supplies to be air-dropped to their locations.
Not all of Patton's tactical decisions were brilliant. His disastrous raid on the Hammelburg, Germany, prisoner-of-war camp was intended to rescue whom?
a corporal that Patton had been childhood friends with
Where did Patton develop his desert tank doctrine?
at the Desert Training Center in the Mojave Desert
in a campaign in the Sahara Desert in World War I
According to Patton, what was the maximum distance allowable between task forces (discrete combat groups) when moving abreast?
line of sight
300 yards (274 meters)
Patton used two types of units in his advance guard, which preceded the main body by about a mile and aided in reconnaissance: half-tracks and quarter-ton trucks together, and …
Where did Patton believe tank destroyers should be positioned relative to the main force of his tanks?
at the rear, protecting the artillery and providing support fire
providing support fire from a flanking position
at the front line, preventing enemy tanks from infiltrating his tank lines
Why did Patton insist that tank destroyers and mobile artillery have .50-caliber machine guns whenever possible?
They were useful against infantry waiting in ambush.
They provided effective anti-aircraft fire against low-flying strafing or bombing runs.
They could penetrate thinly armored Italian tanks at close range.
True or false: Patton saw combat as a fluid, complex situation, and he thought that commanders had to be creative and adaptable to succeed.
Although desert combat is notable for its lack of terrain, what could be taken advantage of if attacking from the correct direction?
How did Patton tell tank crews to position themselves relative to incoming fire?
from high ground, to minimize the profile of the tank from the enemy's point of view
at an angle, to maximize the chance that an incoming round would deflect off their armor
Patton's preferred positioning for tanks was in a depression or behind a hill, with just the turret and gun exposed. This is known as …
When moving across open terrain, tanks should do what, according to Patton?
frequently change direction by 45 degrees or more
drive in the path of the tank ahead, to avoid mines
approach slopes from an oblique angle
Toward the end of a battle, what did Patton think artillery should do?
leave the battlefield entirely to conserve ammunition and equipment
move to a safe location and continue providing indirect fire if possible
move toward the battle, often engaging in direct fire
True or false: Patton felt the only real use of aircraft in a tank battle was for reconnaissance.